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Cloud Based Secure Storage Dynamics for Personal Health Records

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International Journal of Computer Trends and Technology (IJCTT) – volume 4 Issue 9– Sep 2013
ISSN: 2231-2803 http://www.ijcttjournal.org Page3345

Cloud Based Secure Storage Dynamics for
Personal Health Records
Sravan Kumar.Ch
, Srikanth Sreerama

M.Tech, Computer Science Engineering, MLRIT, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
Associate Professor, Department of CSE, MLRIT, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

Abstract-Cloud computing has become an attractive and viable solution for outsourcing data. People can use cloud
storage in pay per use fashion without capital investment. Enterprises from various industries are moving their data to
cloud. Personal Health Records (PHRs) is a new model pertaining to health domain which has huge data that can be
outsourced to cloud. Unlike data of other domains, the data of healthcare domain is highly sensitive. The patient’s control
over his record is very important. To achieve this PHR is encrypted before outsourcing it to cloud storage. There are
many concerns pertaining to security such as privacy. Therefore scalable and secure sharing of such data is essential.
Recently Li et al. proposed a scheme known as Multi-Authority ABE, which is based on Attribute Based Encryption
(ABE). This encryption mechanism when used before outsourcing to cloud ensures that the data owner is assured
complete security to his sensitive data. Concurrent and scalable sharing beside high degree of privacy is guaranteed in
this scheme. In this paper we implement the scheme proposed by Li et al. with a prototype application that demonstrates
the proof of concept. The empirical results revealed that the scheme is effective and support scalable and secure sharing of

Index Terms--PHR, cloud computing, data privacy, attribute based encryption

PHR (Personal Health Record) has become a model
which is patient centric for exchanging health
information. This is a service which enables patients
to tcreate and manages their own health records. In
this approach patients have full control over the
medical records that are shared with other users.
Other users include healthcare providers, friends,
insurance companies and friends. As it is very
expensive to build data centres, it is good idea to
outsource PHR services the data to cloud storage.
There are many cloud service providers like
Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, Amazon, Google and so on.
Of late there are many architectures that came into
existence [1], [2] for outsourcing PHRs into cloud.
These frameworks allow the users of PHR to
outsource data to cloud storage. However, they could
not address the security problems thoroughly.
Patients should be able to control their own PHR
records though they are shared to other parties. In
order to make it possible HIPAA kind of health care
regulations came into existence [3]. As the data of
PHRs is very sensitive, it is essential that strict
security measures are in place to ensure complete
integrity of data. There was an incident of security
issue with PHR records which recorded stolen
records of 26.5 million military veterans [4].

Fine grained access control is required in order to
control access to PHRs in a distributed environment.
This is because the servers of cloud are semi-trusted
in nature. Solution to this problem is encryption data
before it is outsourced. The PHR owner should be
able to decide how to encrypt. Only the users who
know the decryption key can access the PHR files.
The patients or PHR owners have right not only to
grant files but also revoke them when required [5].
There are multiple PHR owners,who can grant access
to their PHRs by encrypting in their own way using
various cryptographic keys [6], [7]. Every user who
wants to gain access to PHR has to obtain security
keys from the owner. This will reduce security risk.
An alternative to this CA for key managementwhere
single authority,in this paper multiple authorities are
used. The proposed system is basedon Attribute
Based Encryption (ABE). Use ABE all access
policies are made using attributes concept. An
attribute is a set of columns that are determined to
grant or revoke permissions. This will help in
managing the users and the credentials easily. Each
PHR owner is able to provide access to friends,
trusted authorities and also hospital staff in case of

The main contributions in this paper include MA-
ABE based framework which is patient-centric that
allows sharing of PHR among multiple users with
fine grained access control; each authority can give
sharing rights to other users based on their
description. This will help completely secure access
to PHR and also ensure that the whole access system
is patient centric. The remainder of the paper is
International Journal of Computer Trends and Technology (IJCTT) – volume 4 Issue 9– Sep 2013
ISSN: 2231-2803 http://www.ijcttjournal.org Page3346

structured as follows. Section II provides review of
literature. Section III provides a schematic overview
of the proposed architecture. Section IV presents
prototype implementation details. Section V presents
experimental results while section VI concludes the

In this paper our work is related to cryptographic
access control using attribute based encryption for
enforcing fine-grained access control. The public key
encryption schemes which are used traditionally are
not sufficient to use with the PHR system which is
based on ABE as they result in high key management
overhead. Set of attributes are used to encrypt and
share data. By doing this key management can be
done efficiently [8]. User collision prevention is an
important feature of ABE where the program needs
not to know ACL.

ABE is used by number of researchers [7], [9], [10],
[11]. There has been increased usage of this kind of
encryption to PHRs. There is a variant of ABE known
as CP-ABE [12], [13] which has direct revocation
provision. Another variant of ABE which was
recently proposed by Yu et al. [7] is used to outsource
PHR data to cloud. It also supports the data owner to
revoke access rights when they are no longer needed
by a user. It does mean that the PHR owner can
revoke access rights that have been bestowed to users
at will. An ABE where PHR owners can revoke
access rights is known as Revocable ABE. However,
it is a challenging task implementing revoking
provision in the ABE. Instead of periodic revocation,
immediately on – demand revocation is available
with CP-ABE. Recently, Li et al. [14] proposed a new
scheme for outscoring PHR data to cloud with
complete security. The scheme is known as MA-ABE
(Multi-Authority ABE). It is a multi-domain and
multi-authority PHR system.

The proposed scheme is meant for secure and
scalable sharing of patient health records. Our
scheme is based on the scheme proposed by Li et al.
[14] which makes use of ABE as underlying theme.
However, the proposed scheme is multi-authority
based ABE. The schematic overview of the scheme is
as shown in figure1.

Fig. 1 – Schematic overview of the scheme
As can be seen in fig. 1, PHR is actually owned by
patients. A patient can operate the system online and
give find grained access to his friends, public
attribute authorities and emergency personnel of
hospital. All kinds of access policies are based on
attributes. Attributes are very convenient to share
PHRs. No user has full access to PHR generally as
the access is given based on attribute requirements.
Each attribute is nothing but a set of columns
whichare relevant. For instance each PHR might have
attributes like personal information, medical history,
examination, insurance information and sensitive
information. Again each attribute is made up of a set
of columns or fields. For instance medical history is
made up of conditions, allergies, prescriptions. The
access policy is encryption based. The physician,
insurance staff and hospital staff are known as public
domain users. Patient might have friends. They are
known as private domain users.

The operations involved in the system are system
setup and key distribution, PHR encryption and
access, user revocation, policy updates, and break-
glass security. The key distribution process generates
a public key and secret key for every user. The
encryption and access policies are based on the
attributes available. The user revocation is possible
when PHR owner wants to revoke any particular user
on his PHR. Then that user can’t access PHR details.
Policy updates are possible from time to time to
improve the ABE security scheme. Break – glass
security is applied to emergency personnel where
they can take directly details from PHR owner. This
emergency access helps them to serve better. More
technical details of the scheme are found in [14].

International Journal of Computer Trends and Technology (IJCTT) – volume 4 Issue 9– Sep 2013
ISSN: 2231-2803 http://www.ijcttjournal.org Page3347

We built a prototype application that demonstrates
the efficiency of the proposed framework that can be
used to outsource PHRs in patient centric fashion.
The application is built in such a way that it works in
distributed environment. It is a web based prototype.
The environment used to build the application is a PC
with 2GB RAM, core 2 dual processor running
Windows 7 operating system. The platform used to
built application is Microsoft .NET. The
programming language used is C#. Some key
functionalities of the prototype are presented via the
screens presented in fig. 2 and fig. 3.

Fig. 1 –Shows Key Generation as part of MA-ABE
As seen in fig. 2 it is evident that the new registration
of a user needs security keys that are used further to
manage and access PHRs. In fig. 3 demonstrates the
usage of ABE in terms of encryption and decryption.
The generated keys are sent to the user in a secure

Fig. 3 –ABE and ABD results
As can be seen in fig. 3, there is provision for
encryption and decryption. The encryption and
decryption processes are pertaining to ABE. The ABE
is an efficient scheme that has been enhanced in this
paper as described earlier.

We made experiments with our system. Then the
results are compared with other works such as RNS
[15], NGS [12], HN [16], BCHL [6] and VFJPS [17].
The results revealed that our system outperforms
previous works in terms of cipher text size, user
secret key size, public key or information size, and
revocation message. Figure 4 presents the results of

Fig. 4 –Experimental Results
As can be seen in figure 4, the result of the proposed
scheme is compared with RNS and NGS. As per the
results the proposed system is more secure and
scalable in terms of ciphertext size, user secret key
size, public key, and revocation message.

In this paper we implement a framework for secure
and scalable sharing of PHRs in cloud. As the cloud
servers are un-trusted, the patients should have
privacy to their out sourced data. Moreover the
schemeshould be patient centric. As the personal
health records are highly sensitive in nature, patient
should have full control over health record while
giving fine grained and control access to other parties.
In the proposed system multiple PHR owners and
other users are involved. We aim at reducing
complexity and improve privacy guarantees. To
achieve this by improving ABEinto MA-ABEthis
also has user revocation.Our framework is influence
by the work of Li et al. [14]. We built a prototype
application which is patient centric and demonstrates
the proof of concept. The empirical results revealed
that the application is effective as it gives scalable
and secure access to health records.

International Journal of Computer Trends and Technology (IJCTT) – volume 4 Issue 9– Sep 2013
ISSN: 2231-2803 http://www.ijcttjournal.org Page3348


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Sravan Kumar.Ch, he is pursuing
M.Tech (CSE)in MLRIT , Hyderabad, AP, INDIA.
He has received B.Tech Degree in Computer Science
and Engineering. His main research interest includes
Cloud Computing and Datamining.
Srikanth Sreerama. He is currently with
the Department of Computer Science and Engineering,
MLRIT, Andhra Pradesh, India. He is having 7 years of
teaching experience. His main research interest includes
Cloud Computing and Data Mining.

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